Live Nativity draws crowd in South Point
SOUTH POINT, Ohio - Hundreds of vehicles were backed up along Commerce Road, all the way to County Road 1, in South Point on Friday evening as they waited to get into “Drive-Thru Christmas: The Life of Christ,” a live Nativity put on by Jeremiah 38 Ministries.
Co-director Becky Bowling, who was wrapped up in biblical-era clothing and hopping from scene to scene to tend to the performers, said she did not expect so many people to come through the event and could only describe the turnout as “beyond our expectations.” The line at some points throughout the evening was more than an hour wait to the beginning of the Nativity.
“The fact that it was backed up two miles is an indication that people are hungry for the gospel of Christ,” Bowling said. “If there ever was a time that people needed Christ, it’s now, and we think this is showing it.”
More than 200 volunteers from 15 area churches and around 15 goats, donkeys, camels, chickens, sheep and cattle stood in the cold to perform a series of 14 scenes that depicted the story of Christ from birth until the ascension, as told through the eyes of a soldier. Those driving through the Nativity were provided with an audio component to play as they experienced the story.
Bowling said she and those who came together from across the Tri-State to tell the story of Christ think it’s “the greatest story ever told.”
“Churches are different, but we all came together for the same cause, and that’s to share the gospel,” Bowling said.
This is the first year the ministry has offered the “Drive-Thru Christmas” experience, and it took about three months to put together through the work of co-directors Bowling, Kelly Brock, Shelley Pinkerman and Connie Lynds. The ministry previously put on an indoor life of Christ drama that Bowling said sold out every year. They decided to move the performance outside to reach a broader audience to attempt to drive more people to attend church.
The donations collected at the end of the drive will go toward Jeremiah 38 Ministries’ mission trips to countries in South America, including Ecuador and Peru, where they start churches. The ministry was started by Bowling’s brother-in-law, Scott Bowling, who passed away of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.
“Drive-Thru Christmas: The Life of Christ” will continue from 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 17, at The Point Industrial Park in South Point.
Follow reporter Megan Osborne on Twitter and Facebook @megosborneHD.